LAMBS First Year

LAMBS is celebrating its 1st Birthday this week.

For those of you who weren’t there at the start, here are some of the highlights:

The campaign began around a kitchen table in Wineham on July 15 2013 and fast grew into one of the most proactive and successful of its kind in the country. Last month, Mid Sussex MP, Nicholas Soames, said that in 30 years of Parliamentary life it is “by far the most effective campaign” he’s ever seen.


LAMBS first hit the headlines in October, when the community wrapped more than 1,000 acres of countryside in a seven mile yellow ribbon to symbolically protect it from the bulldozers. The stunt was reported by papers across the County, and filmed by both BBC and Independent Television. The BBC’s story was broadcast as far afield as Yorkshire!

The Yellow Ribbon was closely followed by a packed Public Meeting at Adastra Hall in Hassocks. The event was organised jointly by LAMBS and the CPRE, with local MPs, Nicholas Soames and Nick Herbert as key speakers. It was attended by around 400 people – too many to fit in the hall!

[quote style=”boxed” float=”left”]totally and wholly inappropriate[/quote] In December Mr Soames and Mr Herbert took the fight to Westminster, securing a Parliamentary Debate on Mayfields. Mr Soames called the scheme “totally and wholly inappropriate” and Mr Herbert described the Company’s behaviour as “entirely reprehensible”.

LAMBS was back at Westminster a few weeks later in the form of its younger members who, accompanied by their two MPS, delivered their second petition to The Prime Minister. “We feel that more effort could be put into building on Brownfield sites rather than ruining the countryside,” a highly articulate 15 year old from Hassocks told the BBC in a live interview in London.

Then there was the 365 Christmas Torches, lit to symbolise the campaign’s determination to keep fighting on into 2014. Wineham Lane looked particularly impressive, with beacons burning from North to South.

In spring, LAMBS launched its Nightingale Bird Watch and Guided Walks. The BBC broadcast live from ancient woodland in Twineham and Meridian filmed the Nightingales in Wineham. A rare Osprey was photographed hunting over the river, and with the help of a knowledgeable local guide and experts from the Sussex Ornithological Society, many more sightings of the protected and endangered birds are now safely on record.

The campaign’s second Public Meeting was held at the larger venue of St Paul’s College last month. Again, hundreds turned up and again the hall was not big enough – the fire doors were opened and many had to watch from outside.

As the campaign’s success has grown, so has its team of active volunteers. A dedicated Fund Raising Committee has been formed to work on many new projects, including a Yellow Ribbon Ball to be held in October.

[quote style=”boxed” float=”left”]a totally unsustainable plan opposed by local people, councils and MPs alike[/quote]Behind the scenes there is now a team of professional experts, working for LAMBS, who are committed to proving beyond any doubt that this is, in Nick Herbert’s words, “a totally unsustainable plan opposed by local people, councils and MPs alike”.

The secret of LAMBS’ success is simple – these ancient villages are a unique community, united into a formidable force which belies its tiny population. Twineham and Wineham were here before Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill. They were here before the railways, before Shakespeare – even before the Doomsday Book. These villages date back to Anglo Saxon times: there are rights of way lined with Oak trees from Jane Austen’s day, a strange tale behind the 17th Century Quaker burial ground in Twineham and somewhere under the ground in Wineham lies the undiscovered remains of a medieval hospital. People simply do not want to stand by and allow a bunch of London speculators to wipe out 1,000 years of history and 2000 acres of beautiful Sussex countryside just to make a quick buck.

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